Document Type


Publication Title

Widener Law Review

Publication Date

Spring 4-2020

Page Number



marijuana reform, legalized use, non-medical use, state vs. federal law


Food and Drug Law | Health Law and Policy | Law


The states have launched a revolution in marijuana policy, creating a wide gap between state and federal marijuana law. While nearly every state has legalized marijuana in at least some circumstances, federal law continues to ban the substance outright. Nonetheless, the federal response to state reforms has been anything but static during this revolution. This Essay, based on my Distinguished Speaker Lecture at Delaware Law School, examines how the federal response to state marijuana reforms has evolved over time, from War, to Partial Truce, and, next (possibly) to Capitulation. It also illuminates the ways in which this shifting federal response has alternately constrained and liberated states as they seek to regulate marijuana as they deem fit.



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